Employers have paid about $7 billion in H-1B fees over the past 10 years. Now, a new fee is coming – the electronic registration fee.

Electronic pre-registration for the H-1B lottery is set to begin for the 2020 cap season. The government’s idea is that conducting the lottery based upon pre-registrations (rather than complete filings) will be more efficient for USCIS and less costly for employers who will not have to file complete petitions unless their cases are selected in the lottery. Initially, DHS decided not to impose a fee for pre-registration, but it left the door open.

During the comment period for the new H-1B rule, some immigration watchdog groups expressed concern that employers, particularly large users of H-1B visas, could “game the system” if a fee were not imposed. Contrarily, business organizations were concerned that high registration fees might hurt small employers. DHS replied that it would be taking steps “to prevent speculative or frivolous registrations.” Ultimately, DHS decided to impose a fee. That proposal has cleared the Office of Management and Budget review. The next step will be publication in the Federal Register, however, the amount of the fee has yet to be revealed.

We will update you with the fee information when it is available.